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Community unites in grief over garage owner.

A Black Country community united yesterday to pay its final respects to a garage owner who died as he tried to stop a car being stolen.

Hundreds of mourners packed into Himley Road Methodist Church in Gornal, less than a mile from the Louise Street Garage where 75-year-old grandfather Henry Raybould died four weeks ago.

Shops and businesses in the area closed as a mark of respect to Mr Raybould, who had run the garage for more than 40 years. So many people turned up for the service that an overspill with a video link was set up in the adjoining church hall and the service was also relayed outside.

The minister, the Rev Steve Jackson, told the congregation the circumstances of Mr Raybould's death had touched the hearts of the whole community and far beyond.

He described Mr Raybould as a 'good type' who had done well in his business.

'There are many of us here today who can testify to the accuracy of that and his skills have been passed on to his sons Paul and Mark, who continue in the family tradition,' he said.

'Ironically, perhaps, the garage has always been a place of security and trust. Good reputations are not something that happen overnight, they are built over time. Henry's hard-working nature, his honesty and his Christian integrity have helped to Henry Raybould cement the respect and trust of the people of Gornal.'

Another minister, the Rev Suzanne Newton, said Paul and Mark urged his killers to discover the Christian faith and find out for themselves what life was really all about.

The Henry Raybould Memorial Fund has been launched. Donations may be handed in at any branch of Barclays Bank or to the Henry Raybould Memorial Fund, PO Box 15, Dudley, DY1 YYQ.

Four people, two charged with murder, have appeared in court in connection with Mr Raybould's death. The case has been adjourned to September 30 at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 8, 2003
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